Monday, December 19, 2022

Driving in Snow in the UK

We are used to the annual mayhem on the streets when a snowfall lands in an area that's not expecting it, and does not have adequate plans for making the streets safe. Usually it's a north-south thing in which Minnesotans and Canadians laugh at Tennessee drivers in places with no salt or snowplows at the ready. This time it's England, which doesn't usually get a lot of snow. On December 11, ten inches fell in Gloucestershire on top of a layer of ice, and people had to get out in it regardless of whether a snowplow had been through or not. The slow-motion carnage is just crying out for a soundtrack, like maybe the Blue Danube Waltz. (via Fark)


Anonymous said...

70% of that is just the lack of proper winter tires.
25% is lack of snow driving experience
115% is not knowing to stay off the dang roads in bad conditions.

chich said...

Had a call from a relative over there. They didn't know snow tires existed. Understandable if it only snows once in a blue moon and really, why would anyone have them.

Als0, a 4WD with summer tires is just as useless as a 2WD in those conditions.

gwdMaine said...

Better late than never, Southern Maine just had its first snowfall of the season. In the 40 mile stretch of the Turnpike just south of me - 27 accidents over a few hours. And that doesn't count the northern stretch or I-295 also right around the corner. And it was what I call a PITA storm - pain in the butt less than 4 inches that isn't even snowplow worthy. This means I had to shovel my driveway. But I digress.

First storms are always accident heavy, but the real reason for most this time was ice that came before the cutover to snow. Same as what's happening here. Most of those vehicles aren't even or barely moving. Snow tires are useless in ice. Studded tires would help, but not much; same with chains. I've got over 30 years winter driving in Maine & Buffalo, NY. When there's ice like that, stay off the roads.

And I've got another 20 years winter driving with the yahoos in DC. One could shoot this video there every time it just snows.

Douglas2 said...

I agree with gwdMaine that it's the layer of ice under the snow that is making this really difficult for people.

This effect is not even limited to where people have the wrong tires and don't know how to drive in snow -- there are similar videos from a December 5 2016 storm in Montreal Canada, where ice, slope, and lack of attention cased city busses, police-cars, and even snow plows to collide on a hill.

All of the above is not to minimize the importance of driving with due care to the conditions. One of my first snow driving experiences in the UK, the others at the meeting said to me "Of course you had no trouble on the roads today, you're from Canada Ha Ha". Meanwhile I'm thinking that I had far more trouble than the conditions warranted, as all of the other drivers seemed to be very intent on running into me, and it was quite a lot of mental labor to anticipate their idiocy and not be in their path.

gwdMaine said...

Idiocy = 'yahoos'

Anonymous said...

Too many people beleive ads showing SUV's plowing through anyting.
Once saw proof of this on Mauna Kea. Brand new SUV with all the traction options went off road in the snow and was stuck until the spring.
Snow driving is a learned skill.

gwdMaine said...

But the ads are true! Most SUVs will plow through anything. Yahoo! But, alas, sooner or later you have to stop. Whoops! That's where the fun begins. There's one or two sentences about that in the owner's manual. Liability issues and all that. Everyone RTFM right?

Bicycle Bill said...

"Snow driving is a learned skill."  I've lived in Wisconsin all my life, which is about 44° N latitude, and all I can say is, "True dat!"

But it never fails to amaze me how many other people, who have ALSO spent much of their lives here, manage to forget everything they ever knew about winter driving during the summer months, so that they need at least two or three good snowfalls – with the accompanying poor driving conditions – to regain those skills.


Bicycle Bill said...

gwdMaine, the only thing SUVs and 4WD drive does is let you get that much further off-road before you finally get stuck.